I am asked very frequently, “how long fillers last for,” so I thought I would write a blog about it. But before we discuss how long they last for and what you can do to make them last longer, we need to look at what fillers are made for and the differences between them.
What is filler?
(Dermal) Fillers are made up of a number of different components but the main one is Hyaluronic Acid (HA).
HA is a natural substance that is already in our body, of which between 50-75% is in our skin alone. It is hydrophilic, which means it can attract around 1000 times its own weight in water; this is why you often find it in skin care products too as it is a fantastic moisturiser!
So what is the difference between fillers?
I always use cars to explain the different fillers. You have different makes like Ferrari, BMW, Ford and Vauxhall; this is like Juvederm, Revolax, Restylane and Teosyal. Then within these makes you have different models like the Ferrari Spider, the BMW 1 Series, the Ford Escort and the Vauxhall Corsa; this is like Revolax Deep, Juveder, Ultra 3, Restylane Classic and Redensity 1.
Each make and model has its own components (but all have HA) and some are purchased for specific reasons eg the Ferrari is bought for speed and look, the Volvo is known for its safety. Fillers are no different, each make and model is used for different purposes although there are some overlaps and experience is the only way to really learn what works for different people and their purposes. I always tell my husband you wouldn’t use a ferrari to pick up the children from school (why put the mileage of the car??) and that is exactly the same for fillers.
In terms of filler, each has a different amount of links between the molecules, the more links there are between them, the thicker the consistency is. This means that filler will be stronger and it will attract more water. So for example, we would use a thicker filler for augmenting cheeks, the chin and the jaw because it essentially has to mimic bone. In comparison, we would use a very thin filler for Tear Troughs because HA likes water so much, we want to avoid it bringing water to the area under the eyes, the less links there are, the less water it attracts.
Does that mean a thicker filler will last longer than a thinner one?
Not necessarily. There are three main aspects to how long a filler will last; the individual’s metabolism, the type of filler used and where it is placed.
This means that whilst the tear trough uses a very thin filler, the area is not very mobile and so the body takes longer to metabolise it. Compare that to the filler we use for lips which has a thicker consistency, but because the lips move all the time, the filler doesn’t last as long as the tear troughs.
So does that mean you can you put a thicker filler in my lips to make it last longer?
It is possible and there are practitioners that do this however it really depends on the individual. Using a thicker filler would make them harder and look less natural, it would also mean that if there was an issue where the blood supply was blocked, it could potentially be harder to break it down. If however, you had an individual that metabolises filler too quickly then it is something we would consider trying.
What can I do to make my fillers last as long as possible?
Whilst going to the gym and working out is great for your mind and body, it is not great for your fillers and it does mean they metabolise quicker. We wouldn’t however suggest you change your gym routines for fillers as the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages of working out.
Cut down on your alcohol consumption and smoking (this will also help reduce the risk of cancer).
Avoid sunbeds (this will also help reduce the risk of cancer).
Use a SPF every day of at least 50 between March and October and 30 between October and February.
Avoid putting pressure on the area, for example, if you sleep on your front, make sure you are not resting your cheeks on your arms if you have had cheek fillers.
Top up your fillers before they have all metabolised. Best thing to do is pop in and see your practitioner after 6 months to see how your fillers are lasting. Ideally you want the fillers to have reduced by approximately 60-75% before topping up, otherwise you run the risk of looking “over done.”
So if you ask your practitioner “how long will it last,” please don’t think they are trying to avoid answering you by giving you a vague figure, no one can tell you exactly how long it will last and we can only go off our own and our clients experience.